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I raised this in the song for a month forum, but thought it may be worth setting up a thread of it's own.
It's a basic idea. Every month we pick a backing track from Youtube in a particular key and use that to develop our own little improvisation/jam session. Like song for a month, the idea is to share a video of our attempt at the end of the Month. It would be interesting to see how people respond to the same track, and learn ways to respond in ways that we may not have thought of - a major benefit of the song of the month exercise.
It's a good way to learn to improvise, and to become more familiar with the 12 bar blues progression (we could do other ones in due course, but there are a lot of backing tracks for the 12 bar blues on Youtube so it's a good place to start).
Those more experienced jammers can show us newbies what to do, and us newbies have a structure within which to develop.
Here's an instructional video from Will Wilde, on starting to improvise. Will is doing exactly what I am suggesting, playing to a backing track from Youtube (this video gave me the idea).
And here is an example of the type of backing track available. I've selected a key of G, as most diatonic players tend to have a harp in the key of C since most teachers use this key.
Let me know what you think.
(There are technical issue involved, since you would need to have youtube playing whilst recording. Hopefully this won't put anyone off.)
Very good, again.
One tip I would have is that if you were to push your shoulders back, you would open up your chest and lungs and maybe breathe easier (This comes from Trumpet work - where you need to have as full a diaphragm as possible).
I too sometimes play hunched up, but this can restrict the flow of air.
There's nothing wrong in what you are doing, but as wind instrument players, we need to ensure that our engine room is working at optimum levels. Not that you need to have force when playing (as you do in trumpet - though that force comes from capacity and air pressure, not from muscle use (oh to be able to do that!)) - but relaxed and open lungs can only help.
An odd remark, perhaps, but there's pretty much nothing else to add as regard your playing.
It's a blast from the past! I recorded this one last month playing straight harp, but I finally got it recorded in cross harp! It's been a fun challenge for sure. Better late than never...
I'm happy to head it up, because it's probably an additional burden for you over and above the sterling work you do with the song-of-the-month area.
I'm no expert on improvising though. But I am more than happy to do the leg work.
That's a cool idea Andy. I'd like to get better at improvising myself. Since I know next to nothing about it though, I'd really love it if you or someone who does can head it up. I think it would be a really fun addition to the songs. Maybe we could do one song and one improv challenge a month. It could be a blast!
Good stuff, spideryak!
I love it when people take liberties with tunes and make them their own, looking forward to seeing more of your performances.
Here is an alternative thought, which might have to go in a different thread.
How about an improvisation task each month?
For example, here is a Blues backing track in the key of E:
The task would be to improvise around the particular backing track. This one played on an A harp in second position - i.e. With draw two as the home note. Or any other position if it is in the key of E, e.g. Fourth position on an, well, I can't think of that particular harp at the moment, but you get the idea.
Us blues players have a month to develop an improvisation on or around this backing track.
A task For those of use who want to develop our improvisation skills.
Then each month we nominate either a different key, or same key and different backing track, freely available on YouTube by searching 'blues backing track' in the key of X.
There may be an issue regarding available harps, so we could always choose the key which most of those willing to have a go have.
Thanks, it supposed to sound like "Deck the Halls" I tried to work in a few different things but kind of settled on that one.
Working on a chromatic version but haven't quite got it together yet.
( my wife and I recorded another tune yesterday but it was only an audio, I think we will redo it as a video)
Yes, it works great this time! Really nice tone! Your harmonica sounds super. And congrats on getting the tune in--you're right under the wire. Hey, either you or I have Christmas on the brain because some of your improv is really sounding like "Deck the Halls" to me.
Hi, Spideryak. Maybe this is just me, but that link seems to take me to my own Google Drive account. You may need a different link or if it's a sound file, you could try posting it to Sound Cloud. It's basically like YouTube for audio files. Can't wait to hear it!
I did purchase it & it seems quite good, however, I haven't read it yet, just some of the first chapters.
Here's a version of the Freight Song...I don't think I've played it the same way each time, so I try some different things some work a bit better than others..it's a nice fun melody..I took some liberties with it. i must admit.
..deck the halls...
Keith..looks like a very comprehensive book on the chromatic...need to add it to my wish list..thanks for posting. Have you purchased it and if so your thoughts on it?
I had thought of suggesting a video/audio topic in the main forum, but didn't as it would duplicate what is already available. I thinks I will just carry on doing as I am and adding comments after the video is linked.
I call myself harpdoctor because I like to strip harmonicas down and get them working right again. This is just a hobby, but I have bought quite a few used ones. With experience, I have become very picky, but I own at least 10 chromatics,and have not paid new price for any of them. They are all hohner except a huang in A, and i am getting tired of sticky valves. By the way, the best cleaning method I have found is soak the parts in polydent (not the valves of course), it gets everything off.
Anyway, I'll let you know how I make out with this one., Thanks for your info though.